Sports News of Thursday, 14 June 2018
Hello, hello, four years of waiting is finally over and the much anticipated 2018 World Cup is here.
Exactly 1432 days after Mario Gotze’s extra time goal saw Germany lift their fourth trophy, Russia and Saudi Arabia take to the field to begin another chapter in the World Cup.
Preceding the opening game is the opening ceremony which will give us insight to Russia’s entertainment and culture heritage.
President Vladimir Putin, FIFA President, Gianni Infantino and all big wigs in world football are expected to assemble at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium for the ceremony that will pave way for the festival to begin.
The tournament’s 64 games will be played at 12 stadiums throughout Russia, with the opening match and the final held at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium.
For the time in World Cup history, there will be Video assistant referees to help make officiating calls. There will be 13 current or former referees watching on screens in a video control room.
The game itself is a clash of two nations with little history in the game and are coming into the tournament on the back poor runs.
Russia have failed to win in seven non-competitive attempts since beating Korea Republic in October, while the Saudis have lost three friendly matches in a row.
Russia, the lowest ranked team in the tournament have not won a single World Cup match since 2002. The Saudis are not good either with their last victory in the tournament coming in the 1994 World Cup.
Russia will be motivated by the fact that no host nation has lost an opening game.
Russia head into the game without their lead marksman Aleksander Kokorin but Saudi have injury worries with all their key players fit for the game.